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[Cancer]

[cancer] Field notes from Cancerland, decaying under their own weight

The usual low grade GI follies

I haven’t talked about my GI much lately. That’s because it’s been behaving in more or less its contemporary ground state. That is to say, I still have days where I strive to have no more than one fully productive bowel movement per hour. And I still have days (most of them) where tenesmus keeps me trapped on the toilet for extended periods of time. This is of course due to having a significantly shortened colon, no gall bladder, and permanently wonky upper GI function due to long term chemotherapy. So, yeah, even on days where nothing else is wrong, I always have these little reminders.

Speaking of chemotherapy…

Based on something mentioned in my Reddit Fantasy AMA, I went back and calculated the number of hours I’ve spent on chemotherapy. In the past 3-1/2 years that I’ve been taking chemotherapy, I’ve had 33 infusion sessions totaling about 1,550 hours. That’s a lot of time on the needle. If I were to try to calculate lost energy and productivity due to post-chemo recovery, I suspect I’d be a very depressed puppy indeed.

Wishing it was a dream

Inside every seriously ill person there is a younger, healthier person wondering what the hell happened. No matter how much I cultivate my own personal brand of ungracious acceptance, no matter how much time and energy I spend facing facts and trying to make rational decisions, I still sometimes have this feeling that this is all an extended mistake, a horrible error, a bad dream sequence from which I will someday awaken. That’s obviously not the case. In fact, that feeling is nothing more than arrant wishing. But sometimes I still have it. This must be one of the most common human responses to severe stress.

Listening to my body

I continue to have problems with gum bleeding, nail splitting, weight gain, and so forth. As I said to Lisa Costello last night, I’m not much for secret wisdom or listening to signs. Most wisdom is right out there in plain view for those prepared to recognize it. But I have this strong feeling that my body is telling me there’s not much time left. This is purely an emotional statement, in that we don’t yet have conclusive medical evidence pointing one way or the other, but I will be surprised to live out the year. And of course tomorrow we get another CEA check, which will provide a bit more medical evidence, though the confirmation of whatever is going on will have to wait for the 5/7 CT. But I know what my body is telling me. I just don’t know if it is right.

Passing over to the other side

As both an atheist and as an evidence-based kind of person, it’s perfectly clear to me that there’s no afterlife. There has never been any objective proof of such a thing in the empirical world. As for faith-based thinking, I actually envy people who can find comfort there. I just can’t let go of my own life-long grounding in the empirical world sufficiently to turn to faith myself. Yet one of the people close to me recently asked me in all shame-faced seriousness to try to let them know if I found some continuation after death. Much like the “it’s all a dream” impulse, I think this is also a very human stress response. The thing is, there is another side. Just not in that sense. I will live on in [info]the_child, in my books, in the people I have loved and who have loved me. I will be a ripple that does not fade for another generation or more. It’s not the same, I know it’s not the same, but this is what I have. It must be enough, for there can be no more.

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